Tag:UConn
Posted on: September 21, 2011 12:33 am
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Big East will be aggressive in expansion

Before the Big East’s meeting of the league’s presidents and athletic directors in the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York, someone noticed a familiar face in the hotel: Henry Kissinger.

“Someone joked, he should come up here,” Big East commissioner John Marinatto told CBSSports.com.

However, the former Secretary of State wasn’t needed on Tuesday night – three days after the sudden announcement that Pittsburgh and Syracuse would depart the Big East –when the presidents and athletic directors of the seven remaining Big East football-playing schools gathered.

The league “will be aggressive” in replacing Pittsburgh and Syracuse and the Big East will continue talks with Navy and Air Force as football-only members, an official in the meeting told CBSSports.com. On Tuesday, CBSSports.com reported that Big East was in the final stages of adding Navy as a football-only member before Pitt and Syracuse abruptly left for the ACC. Air Force also was expected to come on board.

Marinatto would not discuss specific expansion candidates, but said “there’s no urgency to expand. We don’t need to make a quick decision. We need to make the right decision.”

Another official that attended the meeting said the league’s members made a commitment to work and stay together.

“It went well,” the official said. “I think those schools that thought they were going somewhere now realize they have no where to go.”

There have been multiple reports than UConn and Rutgers are interested in the ACC. The Newark-Star Ledger also reported Rutgers “had discussions” with the Big Ten. West Virginia also hoped to go to the ACC or SEC, but both leagues indicated they were not interested in the Mountaineers, CBSSports.com reported.

“Part of the purpose of the meeting was getting everyone’s commitment,” Marinatto said. “At some point, you have to take people at their word.”

The presidents and athletic directors from Cincinnati, UConn, Louisville, Rutgers, South Florida, TCU and West Virginia attended the meeting. Marinatto said the membership discussed increasing the withdrawal fee from $5 million.

“I don’t know if there’s a price you can put on for breaking your word and lying,” Marinatto said. “That’s priceless. I don’t know high enough of a figure to charge for being disloyal or untruthful.”

Marinatto also reiterated that the league plans to make Pitt and Syracuse honor the league’s by-laws, which require 27-month notice to withdraw from the league.

“They are with us until June 30, 2014,” Marinatto said. “I think our membership is firm on that. There is no intention of granting [an early] release.”

Marinatto said he was “hurt and disappointed” about Pitt and Syracuse’s decision to leave the league, especially since both schools kept their dealings with the ACC secret until announcing their departure.

“I don’t want to use words that go over the edge,” Marinatto said. “Let’s just say I was very disappointed.”

Representatives from the Big East’s non-football member schools – DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Notre Dame, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall and Villanova – were not in attendance. The athletic directors of those schools, with exception of Notre Dame, held a one-hour conference call on Monday morning.

“Everyone was frustrated with the way it [Pitt and Syracuse] went down and the fact no one had any idea Syracuse and Pitt were bailing,” said an official from a Big East’s non-football member school.

That individual added that it appears some of the “basketball schools are willing to leave.”

Marinatto, however, said that he held a conference call with the presidents of the non-football members on Monday.

“I went around the horn and asked each one if they were in support of keeping the conference together,” Marinatto said. “Unanimously they said they support what the football schools want us to do.”

Following the football-member schools meeting, the Big East issued a statement:

“Our membership met this evening and we are committed as a conference to recruit top level BCS caliber institutions with strong athletic and academic histories and traditions. We have been approached by a number of such institutions and will pursue all of our options to make the Big East Conference stronger than it has ever been in both basketball and football.”

Rutgers president Richard McCormick would not comment to the Newark-Star Ledger Tuesday night, but said he felt “very good” about the league’s future. “Certainly from our standpoint.”

The president’s next meeting is scheduled for Oct. 2.


Posted on: September 5, 2011 10:07 pm
Edited on: September 6, 2011 12:57 am
 

ACC commissioner refutes Texas to ACC report

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Atlantic Coast Commissioner John Swofford shot down a report Monday night that his league was considering adding Texas, Syracuse, UConn and Rutgers.

“I need to read more to see what we’re doing,” Swofford said laughing. “That’s news to me.”

Orangebloods.com quoted a source Monday night that the ACC, trying to fend off a potential raid by the SEC – who might take Virginia Tech – would look to add Texas along with Syracuse, UConn and Rutgers for a 16-team league. Swofford spoke to reporters from CBSSports.com, SI.com and the New York Post at halftime of the Miami-Maryland game.

“I think we see a lot of things that are written, blogged and speculated about right now,” Swofford said. “We’re not at a point at doing anything from a conference standpoint other than a lot of discussion, analysis and seeing what the landscape may hold moving forward. That’s way beyond any type of discussion we’ve had.”

The ACC’s current media rights deal is split evenly among all members. If, hypothetically the ACC added Texas, the Longhorns would bring their Longhorn Network and earn more than the other ACC members.

Swofford said equal revenue sharing among ACC members “has been a very strong principle of our league since the middle ‘80s.”

“I was AD in this league when we went to that fundamental principle and it’s been a very strong one ever since then,” Swofford said. “I think that it’s one that has a lot to do with the stability of conferences, just fundamentally.”

Swofford also was asked about the, uh, colorful helmets Maryland debuted on Monday night.

“They’re unique,” Swofford said. “And I think they’re appropriate for the state of Maryland with the flag and wearing the state colors for a state university.”


Posted on: August 3, 2011 9:18 am
 

Big East move should help keep Patterson at TCU

NEWPORT, R.I. – Besides all the obvious benefits of TCU’s move to the Big East – money, better BCS bowl access, money, more television exposure, money and money – another plus for the Horned Frogs is it could make it easier to keep Gary Patterson in Fort Worth.

Patterson has been mentioned as a candidate for multiple openings in past years, but has remained at TCU. He begins his 12th season with the Horned Frogs on Sept. 2 against Baylor. The Horned Frogs are playing their final season in the Mountain West before moving to the Big East next season.

“Gary has an opportunity to create his own shadow,” TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte said. “You can go somewhere else and you’re following some one else’s footsteps.

“You go to Alabama, it’s still Bear Bryant. You go to Texas, it’s still Darrell Royal. You go to Arkansas, it’s Frank Broyles. It’s still Woody Hayes at Ohio [State] and Bo Schembechler at Michigan. Gary is that figure for us. He is our iconic figure.”

The Horned Frogs are in the process of $105 million expansion and renovation of Amon Carter Stadium. It’s scheduled to be completed for the 2012 season. That’s only one piece of the puzzle, Del Conte said.

“The one thing we have to continue to do is invest in facilities, invest in staff and invest in our program,” Del Conte said. “But Gary’s created that iconic figure for us. That’s something to be said.

“The grass isn’t always greener. That whole field is riddled with people who thought it was greener and they’re now skeletons littered in the weeds.”

The Horned Frogs first game in the renovated Carter Stadium in 2012 will be against Grambling on Sept. 8. TCU’s first season as a Big East member also will include home games against Oklahoma, Virginia, Cincinnati, Louisville, South Florida and West Virginia and road games at Pittsburgh, UConn, Rutgers and Syracuse.

Even though the Horned Frogs aren’t members of the Big East yet, Del Conte has an opinion on the league's expansion.

“Whatever we do, you have to have significant value to the mosaic that is already there,” Del Conte said. “If not, keep the league at what it’s at. Nine, 10, 12 [teams] – I have no dog in that race. Our forefathers do. My opinion is you have to add significant value and preserve the Big East’s tradition and history in basketball and what Dave Gavitt created way back in the day.”

Del Conte said he’s confident a Big East team will be playing for a national championship – in football – in the very near future and referenced near misses by Cincinnati in 2009 (if Texas doesn’t edge Nebraska in the Big 12 title game) and West Virginia in 2007 (if the Mountaineers defeat Pitt in regular season finale).

“There will be a Big East team playing in the national championship game soon enough,” Del Conte said. “There will be.”

Posted on: July 13, 2011 1:30 pm
 

Another one bites the NCAA infractions dust

And then there were 73.

For the past two weeks, CBSSports.com has been reporting on various elements involved with cheating in college football.

During the series, we had referenced that there had been 72 major violations at 56 schools since SMU received the Death Penalty in 1987.

Well, it’s now up to 73 major infractions and 57 schools after West Virginia's July 8 violations, stemming from failure to monitor charges against former coaches Rich Rodriguez and Bill Stewart, are now included in the database of NCAA infractions.

West Virginia had been one of 23 automatic qualifying BCS conference teams that had not committed a major violation since 1987, so now that number is reduced to 22. That also means 45 of the 67 AQ BCS schools - 67.1 percent of the schools from the six power conferences.

The final and fifth installment of our series is Friday, so it’s doubtful the NCAA would rule on any major infractions before then. But, then again, you never know.

Here’s the updated list of the 22 AQ football programs without a major infraction since 1987:

ACC–Boston College, Duke, North Carolina, N.C. State, Wake Forest.
Big East–UConn, Louisville, South Florida.
Big Ten–Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, Northwestern, Penn State, Purdue.
Big 12–Iowa State, Missouri.
Pac-12–Arizona, Oregon State, Stanford, UCLA.
SEC–LSU, Vanderbilt.


Posted on: May 26, 2011 1:20 pm
Edited on: May 26, 2011 1:22 pm
 

Trangehese: Big East looked at Army, Navy before

About 15 years ago, then Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese was working with the league’s presidents as they looked into expansion. The presidents directed him to approach Navy and Army about their interest in joining the league, which was formed in 1979 as a basketball league.

The discussions did not get very far, said Tranghese, who was the league’s commissioner from 1990-2009.

“I would describe those conversations as not very extensive,” Tranghese said. “It was clear to me there wasn’t a lot of interest [from the academies]. It never got very far. I was directed by the people in the league to at least look into it. I did it honestly in my heart knowing they weren’t interested, but times were different then.”

On Wednesday, I reported the league is considering Army and Navy as football members only and a college industry source told me he thinks the league will approach them first before pursuing other options.

Tranghese said he will not speculate on any future Big East expansion moves.

“I’m not there anymore,” he said. “If they truly want my opinion, I’d give it to them. I want them to succeed. When [former commissioner] Dave [Gavitt] left, he never gave his opinion [about future decisions] and neither am I.”

Tranghese said when he approached Army and Navy in the mid to late 1990s about the Big East, Army was not interested. Navy, though, considered it a little bit more.

Tranghese said if the academies would have been fully committed in joining back then, he’s not sure how far it would have proceeded.

“I really don’t know when push came to shove what they [the Big East presidents] would have done,” he said.

Tranghese said at the time there was an agreement with the league that if UConn and Villanova could abide by their standards, the schools could join as football members. UConn did so, but Villanova made the decision not to do so, Tranghese said.

Now 15 years later, Villanova is hoping to join the league as a football member.     

Posted on: May 24, 2011 1:51 pm
 

Calhoun predicts Big East split in 4-5 years

PONTA VERDA BEACH, Fla. – UConn basketball coach Jim Calhoun admits he likely won’t be coaching when it happens, but he still sees it coming. And it can’t be stopped.

Rapture? The end of the world? Not quite, but the end of the Big East Conference as we know it now.

“My own personal opinion – and I won't probably see this – in the next couple of years, four or five years down the road, I think you'll see a separation [of the football and non-football membership],” Calhoun said. “I think it's inevitable.”

The Big East currently has 16 members, including eight football members. Next season with the addition of TCU, that number inflates to 17 all-sport members and nine football members.

That number could increase even more in the next couple of years with the Big East looking to expand its football membership by as many as three teams, which conceivably could result in a behemoth 20 member conference, including 12 football members.

Big East commissioner John Marinatto has said the Big East’s 16-team basketball league could evolve into 20-teams, split into four pods of five teams or two 10-team divisions.

“If you go to 18 [members], oh boy,” Calhoun said. “We're talking about going to 17 [now and that] creates enough different issues.”

A split of the football and non-football schools has been speculated for some time, but league sources feel that would happen as only a last resort.

Calhoun, 68, said if the league split, the eight basketball members – DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Notre Dame, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John’s and Villanova – would pursue some additional teams from the Atlantic 10, such as Xavier and Dayton.

“That’s what I think could happen,” Calhoun said.
 
 
 
 
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